Loose Lips

Vince Gray: From No Way to No Comment

The more serious the federal investigation into Mayor Vince Gray's mayoral campaign becomes, the less Hizzoner has to say.

Observe Gray's response to the Post's A1 story today laying out how Gray pal Vernon Hawkins appeared to be running an off-the-books campaign. "Gray declined to answer specific questions about the campaign allegations, citing the ongoing investigation," notes the Post. Gray dittoed the no comment today when asked by Fox5.

What a change a juicy story makes.

Rewind to a few weeks ago, after the homes and offices of D.C. Medicaid contractor and prolific campaign contributor Jeffrey Thompson were raided. Back then, Gray was pretty talkative in defending his campaign's honor, saying:  "So as I look back at my own involvement, it was a lot of activity, and we did it with the utmost integrity."

Rewind even further to just over a year ago, when the Post got the ball rolling by airing the accusations of wrongdoing by minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown. Rather than today's terse no-comment, Gray gave a forceful denial. From the Post:

"Was there a quid pro quo here? Did we ask him to do something on behalf of my candidacy, and did we give him something? The answer is unequivocally no," said Gray, who added that he was not aware of any payments to Brown by campaign aides. "I want to make sure there's no sunshine here. I didn't ask anybody to do it. I didn't tell anybody to do it. I didn't authorize anybody to do it."

Gray even held a news conference the Sunday evening after that Post story came out, assembling TV cameras in order to deny the horrible things Brown was saying. So far today, LL's not gotten any invite from Team Gray to dicuss l'affaire Hawkins at an impromptu Wilson Building news conference.

What does the change in press strategy mean? One explanation could involve a change in just who's influencing the mayor's media decisions. Typically, political handlers urge their clients to get out in front of stories, reasoning that the public might assume a pol has something to hide when he declines comment. On the other hand, lawyers generally advise clients to say as little as possible, reasoning that errant language could irritate prosecutors or jurors.

Given the apparently serious turn in the federal investigation, clamming up is probably a sound legal strategy. But it's not one that suggests city politics will be back to normal any time soon.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Ward 1 Voter

    Dead man walking?

  • Money Order Shawty

    He was still the lesser of two evils. You had a choice, and you dummies picked Gray over Fenty. Why be mad at your vote, no one forced you to vote for him.


  • PissedA$$He77

    Look...I am one of those Gray supporters that has much REGRET! I am embarrassed that I voted for this joker!
    As a Ward 7 resident, I had NO CLUE that Gray was this corrupt! It saddens my heart! So in the April 3 election,
    I will NOT be casting my vote from anyone connected to Gray. Sorry...Yvette "Pig Feet" Alexander time is up!

  • W Jordan

    The flip side of the story was Fenty's fundraising machine($3M I believe) which used a different form of pressure and big donor bundling. Bunding was designed specifically to cripple the democratic system by using money to scare off competition and dry up the system. No heroes in this situation.

  • Race Matters

    LOL@Ward 1 Voter

  • NE John

    No, the undead walking

  • Anonymous, Too

    "The flip side of the story was Fenty's fundraising machine($3M I believe) which used a different form of pressure and big donor bundling."

    Right there, W Jordan. The Fenty fanatics--including WaPo--still haven't gotten over his defeat. Wah-wah-wah....

  • truth hurts

    This surely will end badly for one city. Take note: Mo's not keeping quiet no mo.

  • Java Master

    Vince Gray is toast.
    Fenty, unfortunately, wasn't much better, either in his governance, nor his own particular brand of campaigning.
    The Fenty fans still mourn his defeat...too bad.
    Where are all the cowboys?

  • Anoymous

    Loose Lips stirs pots and censors posts he dont like.


  • Gordon

    All aspiring candidates a lesson to learn

    Don't turn your back on the real folk who got you elected.....

  • Yep

    It is pretty typical actually. When investigations start, people are defiant, thinking the forcefullness of their denial will make the charges go away.

    People shit up and take the "no comment" approach once they know and have admitted to themselves that there is no way to avoid what is coming and realize the less they say, the less that can be held against them during their plea and or sentencing.

    Gray is done. The only thing to stand in the way of him becoming a felon is hundreds of thousands in legal fees which will only delay the inevitable.

  • dcdon

    Maybe Mayor Gray should call "TEFLON RON" Moten for insight and advice cause nothing sticks to "TEFLON RON". Even when the city audit revealed that Peaceoholics's charter was revoked by DCRA, they still got over $220,000 in contracts from the city which is fraud at it's finest. Heck even the IRS who Peaceoholics is dilinquent with reporting tax filings for 4 years won't touch "TEFLON RON" Moten

  • Holdadice

    @#10 Anonymous: Sadly, I think your statement is correct.
    It is very disappointing, though I don't know why I am surprised. Reading some of the posts, one is inclined to believe they were written by LL and/or MM.

  • Holdadice

    LL/MM: I'm on to you.

  • DJ Ren

    @Holdadice, we are on to you - you're about 1/4 as smart as you think, and even less witty. Save your self important screeds against your posts being in moderation - they serve to enlighten no one, and add precious little to the discourse.

  • Holdadice

    @DJ Ren: And exactly how do you know about my "self-important screeds against my posts?" Whether or not my posts are placed in moderation because it is based on a roll of the dice (as MM declares), or because LL/MM censor comments, I'm curious about your crystal ball. Won't dignify your pompous objections to me exercising my freedom of speech rights. But can't help but ask why should you be able to say what you choose, and I should not.

  • Mike Madden

    @ Holdadice:

    Your comments on our site have nothing to do with free speech. There's no right to post whatever you want on our pages -- it's our site that we maintain, and we don't have to allow any comments. If you don't want to worry about whether comments get through, feel free to start your own blog and post there.

  • Skrilla Dilla

    @MM, thank you for demonstrating, in real time, that holdadice is 1/42 as intelligent as he thinks. Cheers.

  • claymore

    If you combine Vernon Hawkins with anything -- it's worth probing -- I don't know anything he does that doesn't involve money ending up in his pocket. When he started to assist Vincent Gray with his campaign and I saw him on the news I thought "sorry DC residents you should have kept Fenty" -- because Vernon attached to Gray I knew was going to be bad news. For all of you who don't know his antics while employed by DHS, an old dog still has his old tricks.